The Nigeria Police Force – My Experience By Charles Ameh
Your post on abusidiqu.com today makes me reminisce on the experiences I have had in the hands of the operatives of the Nigeria Police Force. Even before my narration, I would say that just like in our contemporary Nigerian society, there are a few good police men.
In 1991, I was a very zealous and adrenaline pumping secondary school kid with so much zest for academics and adventurous exploits. I did a whole lot of legal things to gather a few kobo for myself. I had spent about three months of that year gathering =N=200.00 so I could take a trip to the nearest town – Idah to be precise, and open a bank account for myself. I wanted to use the opportunity to also post some letters. That was the most useful means of communication then.
I climbed onto my Mum’s motorcycle and off I went with my pocket heavy with the pride that comes with providing a means of meeting my needs myself. I decided to get the stamps and post my letters before finishing up at the bank. I wish the reverse was the case. While heading to the bank, I took a turn at a small junction in a town with little or no vehicular traffic only for a traffic warden to flag me down for taking a wrong turn.
I pleaded with the man for close to 20 minutes without result. As far as he was concerned, I did not know the gravity of my offence. He took me on my motorcycle and off we headed to the police station. I was having =N=160.00 I my pocket then and the traffic warden kept threatening me as we got closer to the station. As you will suspect, my fright kept increasing in leaps and bounds as we got closer. To worsen my already bad situation, I did not tell my parents that I was embarking on a trip to Idah. He then asked me how much I had on me as we got to the station gate.
This traffic warden collected my =N=160.00 in totality and gave me my bike after admonishing me to thank my God. I just took a look at the name tag on his chest and the name just stuck in my memories. That day, I developed a strong hate feeling for the police. I have never forgotten the name and I still look forward to meeting that traffic warden who robbed me of all my savings even as a young boy of 13. I wondered how a fellow human being can be so callous to another.
Yes, I have met one or two policemen who clearly belong to a different class and would qualify as gentlemen on any day. The majority however use every available and even unavailable reason under the sun to exploit, extort and ridicule those of us they are paid to protect. Every organization’s foundation for success is built on its culture and any reform in the Nigeria Police Force would start from a change in the value system and culture within the workforce. It is not about increasing their take home pay after all we have public officers who earn million and steal in billions.
Is the police my friend? I am yet to see any evidence to justify that cliché. I definitely do not think so….
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